With the sheer number of school commitments and extracurricular activities that kids are expected to manage today, it’s safe to say that modern Aussie parents certainly have their work cut out for them. But what if you’re a working mum who’s having to juggle both your 9-to-5 as well as kids’ own weekly schedule?
Whilst managing both your own work commitments as well as your family’s schedule may feel like a daunting endeavour, rest assured that with a little careful planning and securing strength from your support circle, you can continue building up your own career alongside helping to raise your family.
Today, we’ll be outlining some top tips for working mums to help you dominate your 9-to-5 whilst still ensuring you have plenty of time and energy to spend with your kids.
Hone Your Time Management Skills
First and foremost, developing strong time management skills can help you create and maintain a daily schedule that caters to all members of your household, as well as your employer! At a foundational level, you can build your time management skills by learning the basics of scheduling (i.e. mapping out weekly commitments on a calendar or planner and using methods like colour-coding to denote the movements of different family members).
And if you want to hit the ground running come the ‘Back To School’ season next year, we recommend grabbing yourself a 2024 diary too. Grabbing yourself an annual planner now in the lead-up to the new year, can help you identify your best personal planning and scheduling habits so that you can curate the perfect time management system to suit you and your family’s needs.
While you’re at it, now is also a great time to engage more with how you prioritise different tasks. Prioritising tasks from ‘most important’ to ‘least important’ can help you ensure that all your more pressing responsibilities are seen to first. And we have to say it – building your delegation skills will also be greatly beneficial here. But more on this later!
Take Turns On Doing The School Run
All you working mums out there! Remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own. If you and your husband or partner are both working full-time hours, then why not take it in turns to handle the school run? And if you’re separated from your partner, then why not create a co-parenting schedule that complements everyone’s work commitments?
Remember that leaning on the grandparents is an option as well. If your parents or in-laws are retired, they may very well jump at the opportunity to spend a little extra time with their beloved grandkids. If this isn’t an option either, however, then you could set up a carpool with other families in your neighbourhood. That way, you’ll only have to do the school run once a week rather than every single day.
Implementing any of these arrangements will allow for flexibility, making the school run and other extracurricular commitments more manageable for everyone involved, both parents and kids alike.
Look Into Flexible Working Options
Another great way to help you stay on top of your family commitments is to swap out your traditional 9-to-5 for a more flexible working arrangement. Are there any vacant roles in your industry that would allow you to work from home or maintain a hybrid work schedule (i.e. some days in the office and some from your home office)? Doing a little job hunting here may help you find the perfect employment opportunity to accommodate your growing family.
Similarly, working mums may even consider becoming their own boss by starting their own business. Thanks to the rise of eCommerce and even just freelancing platforms online, working mums have a myriad of modern opportunities to work for themselves. All you need is a great idea, a little branding knowhow, and the time to commit to your business and professional goals.
Whether you’re looking to work remotely or become your own boss, rest assured that the opportunity to pick your own working hours every week can help you make sure you always have time to be there for your kids when they need you most.
Enlist In Local Childcare Programs
If you’re currently managing a mixture of both school-aged kids as well as younger kids, it can naturally be a little tricky to find the time for your work commitments. And whilst after school care programs may help bridge the gap between 3pm and 4 or 5pm, parents who have toddlers as well as primary school-aged kids will naturally need to secure weekly supervision for these younger ones as well.
Thankfully, there are a wide range of different childcare programs starting up all over the eastern suburbs, so you should have no trouble at all finding a local program that caters perfectly to your family’s needs. A good place to start when finetuning your shortlist of childcare options is to secure recommendations from other trusted parents and families in your community network. Ask the parents of kids’ friends, ask their teachers, ask fellow mothers from your mothers’ group, and anybody else who may have helpful suggestions here. In doing so, you’ll be able to find a childcare solution that helps take a lot of the panic out of your daily dash from work to school to home.
Prioritise Your Own Self-Care & Well-Being
Finally, that age-old adage that you need to fit your own oxygen mask before going to fit your child’s rings true in more contexts than just air travel. Remember that you are the backbone of your family, which means that although your kids and loved ones must naturally lean on you for most things, you still need to prioritise your own health and wellbeing too. So take steps to make sure that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep at the end of every day, as well as 3 good, hearty meals, plenty of water, and time for wellness and self-care in all of its forms.
Ensure that you are at least getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of rest every night to rejuvenate your body. And don’t forget to exercise – schedule 30 mins of workout three times a week at a base level. Your physical activity doesn’t have to be very intense or time-consuming either. In fact, your daily dose of movement can be as simple as a brisk walk during your kid’s soccer practice, a little heart-pumping activity on some outdoor gym equipment, a home workout on the weekends, or a yoga session after work before you go pick the kids up from childcare or their after school program.
Moving on to self-care – it’s not a luxury; so make it a non-negotiable part of your routine. A crucial and often overlooked component of practising self-care is simply setting time aside for your hobbies. Whether it’s painting, reading, playing a musical instrument, or gardening, be sure to engage in activities you’re passionate about. This short moment of relaxation can help you recharge and reduce stress, ensuring you wake up every day feeling ready to take on the world.
Setting realistic expectations is really important for a balanced life. It’s impossible to do everything perfectly all the time. Some days, your work may take precedence, while on others, your kids will need more of your attention. It’s all about finding a rhythm that works best for your family and your career. Keep your mind open to new strategies or ideas that can streamline your daily routines and make the juggling act more manageable. Remember, you’re not just a juggler; you’re a superhero mum, and you’ve got this!